Racial transformation in agriculture can’t simply be “window dressing.”
This was the message by Pierre Vercueil, chairman of Agri North West, during the Young Farmers conference at Lichtenburg last week.
Vercueil said transformation to deal with the inequalities caused by South Africa’s discriminatory past, offers opportunities for South African farmers, but it should be approached in the correct manner.
“Remarks from authorities coupled with the current political climate, put farmers in a negative light, which cause them to leave the country. However, there are opportunities for those farmers who have a good mind-set and want to utilise the opportunities,” said Vercueil.
He added that farmers have the platform to create opportunities for those who did not grow up in an agricultural environment.
“Transformation is a reality which is a business opportunity for future farmers. The backbone of South African agriculture lies within family businesses. These businesses can expand through shareholding, but also through appointing competent individuals.
The permutation is widespread enough for it to work,” said Vercueil.
However, Vercueil said it should not be used only to keep the authorities off farmer’s backs.
“It should be done for the right reasons and form part of the farming strategy.”
He said there will be radical changes in South African farming, but farmers are in a favourable position because the growing population needs to be fed.
“Farmers of today are responsible to see these opportunities and utilise it,” said Vercueil.
He believes all South Africans face the same circumstances.
“We are all in the same boat because we want stability and peace. Young farmers of today have the responsibility to bring about stability for the future,” said Vercueil.